Angela Slatter’s story ‘Frozen’ will appear in the December 09 issue of Doorways Magazine, and ‘The Girl with No Hands’ will appear in the next issue of Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet.

Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Shore Birth

by Jason Fischer

It was a still sea that spat him forth, the surface as flat as a pond, the waters rank with dead sea-grass and the bloated bodies of fish. There was no sun to herald his arrival, nothing but a faint spot somewhere above the slate-grey clouds.

A jagged rock snagged his bobbing vessel, and the skin around him tore. As he uncurled from his foetal position he found twin horns on his head, sharp and mean. They made short work of the amniotic sac, and in moments he’d freed himself.

Awareness. Movement.

He saw his body for the first time, drank in the enormity of his limbs, his height, touched his long snout and horns. He was. The newborn knelt in the motionless brine, sluicing the wreckage of skin and slime away from his matted fur.

He cupped a handful of water in his broad hands, and lifting it above the murk he saw his own face reflected. He was a bull-man, a hybrid of man and beast. A minotaur. While there were many blanks in his mind, these terms of reference came instantly to him.

The child stood for a long moment in the shallows, pondered the desolate stretch of shore, the endless cliffs. The beach was loose stone, here and there covered in thick drifts of dead sea-grass, white and crumbling to dust. There’d been no high tide in months, if not years. In moments he realised the concepts of tidal patterns, lunar cycles, the works.

With some panic he realised that he was the only living thing on that desolate shore. The world he’d just been born into had an ocean but no tides, death but no new life to make way for.

‘I’m alone?’ he asked, voice a thick rumble. It was a strong and deep sound. He cried out in fear, an animal bleat, the sound echoing against the cliff-face.

As the sound faded, the beach was once again silent and still.

Drawing a deep breath through the fat pipes of his nostrils, the bull-man found control. He clambered ashore, the rocks doing little against the thick leather of his feet. This shale shifted beneath his weight, but he kept his balance, shuffled forward.

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